A Romantic Cafe in a Cambodian mountain

Photo courtesy by Arjay Stevens

Even if Cambodia is considered a small country in size, it keeps a variety that goes further than the busy capital, the Angkorian temples and the Sihanoukville beaches. As much as the country develops, places will come out to demonstrate that it is in fact a kingdom of wonders – though you can wonder about many things here too. I can tell you that there is a romantic cafe there on a Cambodian mountain. As I am attached to mountains due to my Andean origin, it is probably that I can see the place more romantic than those who were born at the sea level. The mountain is the Kirirom National Park. It is midway between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville and a perfect place for eco-tourism.

I visited the Romantic Waterfall Cafe on January 2. I adventured with some of my students from Kompot to Kirirom by a rural road that took us five hours. If you are interested in seeing hills, lakes and villages in the middle of the wild, it is a well recommended route. If you are in hurry to reach Kirirom, just take the national roads. This map will help you to reach the cafe, an initiative of the German photojournalist Arjay Stevens, based in Cambodia since 1996.

He says on his website:

‘Therefore, there is a growing need for catering facilities such as cafés, restaurants, and affordable accommodations with toilet facilities that conform to the hygienic standard expected by Western visitors. The local infrastructure comprises only ‘home stays’ in homes of villagers, or from resorts.
The goal is now – hopefully in close cooperation with local NGOs – to make Chambok village a more tourist-friendly province destination: good hygiene, conscious ecology and good gastronomical level – our ‘Romantic Waterfall Café’. This German-Khmer ‘social entrepreneurship’ comes from a private initiative and is entirely privately financed. Our method is ‘help for self-help’. We want to enable the participating Cambodians to conduct a business and to improve their lives as a result.’

I am already planning another excursion to the place to enjoy the waterfall, near the cafe and, of course, the walk through the paths of the hills.

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